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  • Voltaire Staff

Hugo Awards hit with speculations of Chinese censorship over big name exclusions

The 2023 Hugo Awards for science fiction, which were held in China for the first time, have become mired in controversy with revelations that several authors were excluded from the fray without clear explanations.

According to a report in Guardian, RF Kuang's award-winning novel 'Babel,' which recently earned the fiction book of the year title at the British Book Awards, was excluded from the contest.

The exclusion also included an episode of the popular Netflix show 'The Sandman' as well as contributions from author Xiran Jay Zhao.

These works, and more, were labelled with an asterisk and the phrase "not eligible" with no further explanation about the decision.

The exclusions have given rise to questions such as whether there had been interference or censorship in the process from Chinese authorities, which are wont to exercise a stringent control over all cultural events within its borders.

However, Dave McCarty, the head of the 2023 Hugo awards jury, dismissed the concern saying there was no interference.

"Nobody has ordered me to do anything … There was no communication between the Hugo administration team and the Chinese government in any official manner," he wrote on Facebook.

The Hugo Awards stand as the foremost recognition in the realm of science fiction and fantasy fiction. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories magazine, and managed by the World Science Fiction Society, a community of passionate sci-fi enthusiasts.

These awards, involve a voting process where fans express their preferences for outstanding works or authors across a diverse range of categories.

The culmination of the process occurs at the annual Worldcon conference, hosted in varying cities each year, where the winners are celebrated in a ceremony that honours excellence in the dynamic world of speculative fiction.





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